rock climbing

« Glossary IndexLast Updated: Jan 18, 2019 @ 4:38 pm

Rock climbing is the technique and sport of climbing on steep rock faces, usually with ropes and other equipment and as part of a team or pair.

Episode Reference

In episode 107.8 and 107.20, Olive goes rock climbing with Danny at a rock climbing center. Danny is watching Olive climb an artificial rock structure with ropes attached to her. Danny, as Olives belayer, is holding the rope.


In these scenes, everything that Danny does is consistent with what we know about him. He knows when to let out, and when to pull in just at the right times when interacting with Olive. Whether he is talking about meatloaf they are having for dinner (105.13), picking her up after she was caught shoplifting (104.17, cf. 104.20), or giving her the freedom to return to rock climbing the next day, Danny is willing to give her just the right slack. As we will soon see, however, this tension has to work and balance itself out in both directions, and when other people are involved (i.e. Grace and Ben), things can get a whole lot more complicated.

The writers do an excellent job integrating the story line and character development with the real world. Any rock climber understands that the safety ropes which secure a person during a climb need to be pulled not pushed. The force that is created is called tension. Pushing something with a rope is impossible since the rope will go slack, and lose the tension that allows it to pull in the first place. As long one’s climbing partner applies tension at the other end of the rope, a climber who falls will not fall far. As the climber moves on the climb, the belayer must make sure that the climber has the right amount of rope by paying out or pulling in excess rope.

In 107.23 when Danny drops Olive off at the house, Grace comes out to the front steps and sort of glows at Danny with her whole being. It makes you realize how exhausted and stressed she always is around Ben, like their relationship is a chore for her, but Danny is a relief and a joy to be around. Danny tries not to be magnetically pulled back into the house to stay for the rest of his life. They are 20 feet apart the whole time, and only say a few words, but it doesn’t matter. You can see the intensity of [his] longing from 200 feet away, and so does Ben [just before he pulls in the driveway and parks his car.]1

Ben goes through his own set of complicated emotions, from caveman jealousy settling down into 21st century self control, but he still can’t hide that he doesn’t like Danny encroaching on his womenfolk… The tension between them isn’t going anywhere while Ben has to devote himself to saving Cal instead of repairing his relationships with Grace and Olive. It’s an issue that existed before Flight 828, and Ben might have to face that taking care of Cal is his life’s calling, with or without the plane and the voices. Everything else will always be secondary.1

Thus, the healthy tension that exists between Olive and Danny is complicated when one also adds into the mix Grace and Ben. The tension that Metacritic speaks about above between Grace and Ben, seems to be creating undue tension between Ben and Danny, which exerts more force on Olive causing her to be more tense. Although Ben, the mathematician might be able to figure the right balance of forces if he were to measure the vectors, it is doubtful he has the time or energy to understanding the dynamics on his family. The question is who going to fall, and how far?

  1. Metacrone at

Recent Activity (Glossary)

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rock climbing (Wikipedia)
A rock climber
Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is an activity in which participants climb up, down or across natural rock formations or artificial rock walls. The goal is to reach the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a usually pre-defined route without falling. Due to the length and extended endurance required and because accidents are more likely to happen on the descent than the ascent, rock climbers do not usually climb back down the route. It is very rare for a climber to downclimb, especially on the larger multiple pitches (class III- IV and /or multi-day grades IV-VI climbs). Professional rock climbing competitions have the objectives of either completing the route in the quickest possible time or attaining the farthest point on an increasingly difficult route. Scrambling, another activity involving the scaling of hills and similar formations, is similar to rock climbing. However, rock climbing is generally differentiated by its sustained use of hands to support the climber's weight as well as to provide balance.

Rock climbing is a physically and mentally demanding sport, one that often tests a climber's strength, endurance, agility and balance along with mental control. It can be a dangerous activity and knowledge of proper climbing techniques and use of specialized climbing equipment is crucial for the safe completion of routes. Because of the wide range and variety of rock formations around the world, rock climbing has been separated into several different styles and sub-disciplines.

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